With Indo-Pak-China on brink of nuclear flare-up over J&K, Pamela can clear reputation of Mountbatten about partition / Kashmir through another book. By Hem Raj Jain
15 Aug 2020
When Pamela Mountbatten wrote her book ‘India Remembered’ in 2007 with forward to this book by her daughter India Hicks, people thought that Pamela would bring to light many facts and would give answer to many puzzles of the history of undivided India which has remained a matter of utmost interest to people all over the world (including & especially politicians, journalists, people concerned with social & political sciences), but Pamela in her said book has disappointed in this regard.
Nobody expected that Pamela would write anything in her book which will project his father Mountbatten [the Viceroy of India before partition and ‘Governor General of India’ (GGI) after partition] in a bad light. But the way Pamela skirted all the issues (which are relevant even today) it could have been pardonable in normal circumstances but not now when these have become questions of life and death to billions of people (of Indo-Pak-China region in particular and for wider mankind in general as this region has come on the brink of nuclear flare-up between three nuclear countries India, Pakistan and China over J&K in view of refusal of China to restore status-quo-ante of April 2020 in Eastern Ladakh).
Hence it has become morally & ethically imperative on this August 14-15 (the ‘Independence Days’ of Pakistan and India respectively) that Pamela should write (or get written, if suits thus at her present age of 91 years) another book not merely to clear the reputation of his father Mountbatten (about irresponsible & ill-prepared-partition of India and Kashmir problem) but in order to solve Kashmir problem which Pamela can easily do by bringing pressure on Government of UK / Commonwealth (which is equally if not more responsible for the present Kashmir problem) by writing about following issues and matters in it: -
(1)- About 1 million were reportedly killed and about 15 million displaced in most gory situations due to partition. Hence Pamela, in the next book, should inform about the background which led to partition without making any preparation for population transfer before partition under the security of British rule [of only those people who WANTED (mainly on religious basis) to cross the border due to perceived threat to their life, properties and honor]. Especially given the fact that British Government / Mountbatten knew that communal violence in various parts of India was already going-on before partition and would happen more intensely after partition as mentioned by Pamela in her book at pages 76 and 78 where Pamela writes that -”[For the Governor’s Conference the Governors arrived on April 16, 1947 from all over India to give their first-hand reports to my father of the situation on the ground. Their reports made depressing reading. Even the quieter provinces feel that we are sitting on the edge of a volcano]”
(2)- The then UK Prime Minister Attlee and King George VI were personally taking interest in whatever Mountbatten was doing about partition in India (as is evident from their personal letters on this matter to Mountbatten as is mentioned by Pamela in her book at its pages 126/127/128 and 136/137 respectively). Hence Pamela aught to inform in her next book that - “Was this secured population transfer was discussed by various stakeholders (including leaders of Congress and Muslim League) and what was the response of all these stakeholders and what each stakeholder said in favor of hasty partition without taking precaution of said protected population transfer” ?
(3)- Pamela should appreciate that the illegal population transfer (due to violence) is the main cause of communally poisoning India and of emboldening the communal forces in Indian subcontinent. Hence Pamela should further inform in her next book that why GGI Mountbatten did not press for rehabilitation of tens of millions of displaced (due to violence) in their native country especially when there was no provision of population transfer in any law passed by British Parliament related to the partition of India.
(4)- Pamela should also inform through her next book that why Mountbatten (GGI up to June 1948) did not ensure the plebiscite in United J&K especially when not only there was UN resolution of April 1948 for it ( India went to UN under his advice & approval) but most importantly there was a provision of Plebiscite in Instrument of Accession (IoA) signed by him the relevant part of which reads as -“[the question of Accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government's wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir, and her soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State's Accession should be settled by a reference to the people. Yours Sincerely Sd/- Mountbatten of Burma]”.
(5)- Mountbatten should have ensured that Pakistan vacated PoK for facilitating plebiscite in united-J&K and if UN (despite UN resolution 1948) did not enforce it then Mountbatten should have ensured the mobilization of the military of India and UK (which was responsible for partition and is still heading Commonwealth) for carrying out this plebiscite. Pamela ought to inform in her next book what was the role of these various stakeholders in frustrating plebiscite in united J&K in early 1948 when Mountbatten was still the GGI.
(6)- In view of above-mentioned Pamela should write next book in a manner which will bring adequate moral (and even legal) pressure on the present Government of UK and on the leadership of Commonwealth to intervene in Kashmir problem in a way which will effectively: -
(i)- Ensure plebiscite in united J&K as per IoA which was approved and signed by the then GGI Mountbatten.
(ii)- Ensure dual citizenship (one for India and other for Pakistan or Bangladesh) for about 160 million Hindus and Muslims (~ 80 million Hindus and same for Muslims) who were displaced during partition through illegal population transfer which is the main cause of communally poisoning entire Indian subcontinent [about 20 % of their population (Hindus) from each of Pakistan and Bangladesh were expelled whereas Muslims remain same rather increased little to about 14 % in India not to talk of tens of millions of Muslim illegal immigrants in India mainly from Bangladesh]. Without this dual citizenship communal poison can’t be removed from Indian subcontinent hence the solution to Kashmir problem will be impossible without said dual citizenship.
(7)- The most disappointing aspect of Pamela’s book is that she did not deal with the issue of Princely States of India, objectively. India had 565 Princely States (apart from thousands of zamindari estates and jagirs) which covered 40% of the area of pre-independence India and constituted 23% of its population and were mostly in Western side of Bengal, Bihar and U.P. of India as is shown also at page 39 of her book. Had Britishers spent 10 % of time, energy and resources (of what they spent in bringing harmony between power hungry communal force of Congress and Muslim League and in unnecessary partition of India on communal lines) in making these Princely State geographical contiguous (with little give & take of territory with British India) as suzerain (which they already were and they never revolted against Britain) as one political entity under sovereignty of Britain then neither partition of India nor so much bloodshed (due to partition) would have taken place. Hence Pamela should deal with this matter in her next book as to why this didn’t happen ? This is necessary for proper perspective & understanding of the political reality of even present India.
It is hoped that in the interest of avoiding nuclear flare up between Indo-Pak-China, Pamela Mountbatten will contribute in rectifying the errors, which Britishers committed during Partition of India, by writing another book dealing with issues and matters as mentioned above.